Aristophanes: Lysistrata /The Acharnians/The Clouds Mass Market Paperback – 30 Aug 1973
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About the Author
Aristophanes (ca. 446-ca. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a prolific and much acclaimed comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete. These, together with fragments of some of his other plays, provide the only real examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy, and they are in fact used to define the genre. Also known as the Father of Comedy and the Prince of Ancient Comedy, Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author. His powers of ridicule were feared and acknowledged by influential contemporaries - Plato singled out Aristophanes' play The Clouds as slander contributing to the trial and execution of Socrates although other satirical playwrights had caricatured the philosopher. His second play, The Babylonians (now lost), was denounced by the demagogue Cleon as a slander against the Athenian polis. It is possible that the case was argued in court but details of the trial are not recorded and Aristophanes caricatured Cleon mercilessly in his subsequent plays, especially The Knights. "In my opinion," he says through the Chorus in that play, "the author-director of comedies has the hardest job of all." He is also known for some famous sayings, such as "By words the mind is winged." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This translation captures the humor of the original, which ranges from low-brow slapstick to witty one-liners to political asides--a union of vaudeville, Oscar Wilde, and Mark Russell. However, what Sommerstein utterly misses is the form of ancient Greek comedy. The lyric choruses are rendered in choppy iambic lines, with many of them set to tunes from Gilbert & Sullivan. Aristophanes meant to use vulgarity in the acting, not in the lines of the Chorus.
Two stars for verbal wit, two stars for completeness of endnotes, and one star for my love of "Lysistrata", minus one star for excessive use of campy tunes.
(For those of you who do like his translations, or those just looking for the other eight plays, they are contained in two more volumes. Sommerstein collaborated with David Barrett in the volume Knights/Peace/Birds/Women's Assembly/Wealth, while Barrett translated Wasps/Women's Assembly/Frogs. Barrett takes less care with the translation of humor, but does not destroy the credibility of the choral lines.)
Having recently read books on the role of women in ancient Greek society, it was great to read a play with a women protagonist and the solution to the war was an ingenious one - a sex strike!!! This play is very funny and very worth reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good quality, love Aristophanes. Very accessible translation - without censoring it too much!Published 19 months ago by Amy
A bit shabby - but did not expect more for that price. Wrapping good.Published 24 months ago by Musiclover_M
I bought this when I was doing my A-Levels, It came in great condition and really helped with my course. Thanks!Published on 16 April 2014 by Sarah Greatorex
I am very pleased with this book it is in great condition and it was very reasonably priced. Thank youPublished on 15 Mar. 2014 by Suzanne